The traditional marketing funnel is comprised of five stages: Awareness, Consideration, Preference, Purchase, and Post-Purchase.
If you ask most marketers, they’ll probably agree that some digital marketing channels are more effective at certain parts of the funnel than others. Social media is extremely valuable for Awareness, for example, while content like white papers is ideal for the Consideration stage.
Paid search is seen as a driver near the end of the funnel, going for that final push to Purchase. But, when done correctly, PPC campaigns can be just as successful as other channels at the top of the marketing funnel.
Leveraging Paid Search in the Awareness & Consideration Stages
For a quick refresher, the Awareness stage is where consumers have a problem, but aren’t able to identify exactly what it is in words. In this stage, they’re still gaining awareness about the problem, and if potential solutions exist. This leads to Consideration, where they’ll further their research and explore all options on hand, before picking them off one by one and settling on their solution provider.
So, how do you leverage paid search at these early stages of the buyer’s journey?
One of the best ways to use PPC at the top of the funnel is through search campaigns. Bidding on keywords related to informational searches could be one excellent way of getting in front of those aforementioned people who’ve identified their problem, and are searching for their solution. Hopefully over time, users will associate your brand to the solution for their current problem.
What Goes Best with TOFU?
No, we don’t mean the Asian delicacy (though we wouldn’t say no to a bowl of some, either). TOFU is another name for the Awareness stage. Our PPC team thinks the best strategies for PPC at this point would be display ads, video ads, and search ads.
Display ads are for broad interest targeting. Consider topic targeting in particular, where you’ll target sites and pages about a specific topic; don’t forget about keyword contextual targeting, too!
Video ads are the future, and arguably the best way to drive brand awareness at the top of the funnel. Try interest targeting or in-marketing audiences, complete with TrueView ads (both in-stream and video discovery) and bumper ads.
Finally, when crafting search ads, remember that we’re top of funnel and the user hasn’t yet fully defined their problem. So, they’re highly unlikely to input any sort of branded search, so axe those keywords from your strategy from the start. For some ideas on the types of keywords you should be going for, check out this report from Search Scientists on sales funnel keywords.
What To Do With Top-of-Funnel Traffic
If you’re successfully capturing that sweet early funnel traffic with thoughtful PPC campaigns, your next step will be figuring out what to do with the influx of users.
Remember that you’re driving cold traffic through your paid search campaigns now, so you won’t be able to send users to the low-funnel CTAs like you would in your other campaigns. Since these visitors aren’t anywhere near the end of the buyer’s journey, sending cold traffic to misaligned CTAs or landing pages will lead to high bounce rates and low conversion rates.
Instead, consider how you’ll go about answering the pain point identified by the user’s search query. This way, you’ll know exactly what type of resources you’ll need in the early stages of the funnel, and can align calls to action throughout their buyer’s journey regardless of the phase they’re in.
Keeping this in mind will not only increase conversion rates, which you can also use to better gauge intent, but build audiences that you can use in more paid search campaigns down the road.
If you’re not getting the ROI you expect with your current PPC campaigns, get in touch with our PPC experts for a PPC audit and we’ll help you find areas of improvement.